Tuesday, 16 December 2014

Melvins - Hold It In (Album Review)

Album Type: Full-Length
Date Released: 14/10/2014
Label: Ipecac Recordings

‘Hold It In’ CD/DD/LP track listing:

1). Bride of Crankenstein
2. You Can Make Me Wait
3. Brass Cupcake
4. Barcelonian Horseshoe Pit
5. Onions Make the Milk Taste Bad
6. Eyes on You
7. Sesame Street Meat
8. Nine Yards
9. The Bunk Up
10. I Get Along (Hollow Moon)
11. Piss Pisstopherson
12. House of Gasoline

Melvins are:

King Buzzo | Vocals, Guitar
Dale Crover | Drums, Backing vocals
JD Pinkus | Bass, Lead vocals (1, 8, 11)
Paul Leary | Guitar, Lead vocals (2, 6,10)

As soon as King Buzzo and Jeff Pinkus squawk out “Spinning round the wrong way” during the chorus of ‘Bride of Crankenstein,’ against a backdrop of grinding guitars and a rhythm section that sounds like a bloated Bigfoot who can’t find his stash of Yakult; it becomes glaringly obvious that this collaboration is one of pure gold.

Pinkus and fellow Butthole Surfer Paul Leary add a great deal of spice and depth to the anarchic grunt that is the Melvins. Not least on ‘You Can Make Me Wait, ‘where Leary takes lead vocals on a dreamy sequence that floats in on an acid trip aura. Then again with ‘Eyes On You,’ solely penned by Leary, a bright bouncy, Beatles-esque masquerade is brought to the foray and they sound all the better for this stark contrast. It’s a refreshingly different sounding Melvins at times here, while their trademark spit still comes crawling out of the shadows like a dreaded ex asking for another chance – and it wasn’t a pretty break up. ‘Sesame Street Meat’ – one of a plethora of songs swimming in a sludgey ocean of dark humour – sounds as nasty and grating as the Melvins ever have done. Its lion’s roar riffs are seismic, reverberating like crumbling mountains; Dale Crover’s drums the resulting avalanche of earthbound boulders.        

’Brass Cupcake’ would be pop punk if it weren’t so sinister. More crackling squawks, more hard hitting evidence in the argument that King Buzzo is one of the most underrated and inventive guitar players out there. The layered guitars are a great benefit to ‘Hold It In’. Having Leary provide another texture, he is able to play a little more freely and the results are a fantastic blend of shrill, clarion call wails and intelligent, weaving hooks.

Then there’s ‘Barcelonian Horse Pit.’ Amass with ominous, eerie tones and distressed backwards tracking, clumsy drum work and hair raising feedback. It’s not even a song in reality; just a cluster of twisted sounds but it’s so damn good. It has the same kind of allure a lonely housewife does to a milkman; before you know it you’re sucked inside, basking in its temptation, lost in the thrill of it all. It’s a song that really typifies everything there is to love about this band. Ingenious, against the grain, rough and raw, it’s so uniquely Melvins.  Could any other band pull of this kind of madness so convincingly?

And is that a squeeze box interlude in the seven and a half minute romp that is ‘The Bunk Up?’ More surprises, more twists and turns, another cinematic adventure. Once again you’re pulled into its world, dazzled by the colours and the imagery the moody music conjures. But it chews you up and spits you out as ‘I Get Along (Hollow Moon),’ another Leary number injects yet more diversity into this album’s throbbing veins. With a 60s rockabilly swagger, its bridge threatens to creep into Bond theme territory. With every wistful Leary composition, they make sure to follow it up with an old fashioned Melvins styled uppercut, except, on ‘Piss Pisstopherson’ it’s Punkus singing over a classic Buzzo riff. Arguably, this is the most amalgamating track on the record, the bastard offspring of the two bands.  

Time hasn’t changed the Melvins, nothing can and ever will. But what we have here is the addition of two fantastic songwriters who bring their own flavours to compliment their already delectable platter.

’Hold It In’ is another fine offering from a truly outstanding band.

Words: Phil Weller  

You can pick up a copy everywhere now.  If you missed our incredible interview with King Buzzo, check it out here.  You can also read review of Tres Cabrones’, ‘Everyone Loves SausagesandHoudini

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